Dance of Thieves (Dance of Thieves 1) - Page 116

Wren blew out a long slow breath. We had done it. We had finally found him.

“But that’s not all,” I added cautiously. “There are five others.” I looked at Synové and pressed her shoulders against the wall, trying to stave off her reaction. “One of them is Bahr.”

Synové shook her head. “But he’s dead. In the battle. He—”

“No,” I said.

Her mouth opened, and I clapped my hand over it before she could scream. Muffled noises leaked between my fingers. Wren helped me hold her back, both of us using all our weight to keep her pinned in place. Tears streamed down her cheeks.

“We’ll take him back,” I whispered, “just like the others.”

She moaned a violent muffled objection.

“He will pay,” Wren promised. “But he goes back to face justice, like the queen wanted. The long ride will be the best torture we could inflict.” The chievdar who had killed Wren’s parents had died in battle, but her lip trembled and her eyes brimmed with tears too, knowing Synové’s pain as her own.

We stayed in our tense knot, holding back and holding on, Synové’s heaving breaths the only sounds in the room. Her shoulders finally went limp beneath our hands. Her breathing calmed, and she nodded, resigned to her vows and duty.

Evening was quickly falling, and we returned to the main house with our plan still forming, my hands still salty with Synové’s tears. We were just inside the door when I heard the dogs loosed.

My legs ached as I walked the final steps back to my room, as if every bit of strength had finally been wrung from them. I was already raw with pain of my own, and Synové’s agony had only deepened it.

I dreaded dinner tonight. I dreaded seeing Jase. How could I pretend I didn’t know?

How could he have hidden all this from me? Doors guarded by poisonous dogs that he claimed led nowhere? An invitation to the queen that was really a trap? A groundsman who was really a murderous fugitive? Weapons to dominate all the kingdoms?

His little enclave was a dragon’s dark den.

Fool me once, Jase.

My thoughts jumped, my own words taunting me. The thing about a mark is they’ve created lies in their head, a story they’ve invented that they desperately want to believe, a fantasy that merely needs to be fed.

But this time it was I who had been that round-mouthed fish breaking the surface of the water, following crumb after crumb, swallowing each one whole.

I was the mark, the witless dupe of my own game.

And Jase had played me expertly.



“Where have you been, Kazi?”

I gasped, whirling toward the voice.

Jase sat in the chair in the corner of my room. In the dark.

“Here, let me.” He reached out and turned the wheel on the bedside lantern just until I could see him, the rest of the room still cast in shadows.

His face and voice were frighteningly void of any expression. “You didn’t answer me,” he said. “I’ve been waiting quite a while. Where have you been?”

You’ll have to smooth it over with him.


Juggle, Kazi. Juggle as you always do.

“None of your business,” I answered. “Get out.”

Tags: Mary E. Pearson Dance of Thieves Fantasy
Source: Copyright 2016 - 2023